As the name of my blog will tell you, we are in the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a very long process toward a functioning urban homestead. My intent is to be completely honest with what we have done, and what we haven't, and not try to make it out like we have some robust beautiful garden. We don't. Yet.
This is what we do have. Two 4x8 raised beds and several pots of herbs. The plot in the front of the picture was our first garden plot. We decided to go with the cement blocks for a raised bed because it was the cheapest option. Raised beds are really not ideal for desert gardening, as they require more water than sunken beds, but we came across some literal cement slabs, as opposed to the caliche, which only feels like cement, while digging and had no choice. OK. I suppose we could have rented a jackhammer and gone at it, but that's really not our style. Last summer we grew tomatoes and squash in this plot with varying degrees of success. One of our squash plants grew wild, 10 foot long vines, but never fruited. I know now that this is a sign of major nitrogen overload. (A friend who had come to help with the garden had thrown a massive garbage bag of coffee grounds into the soil right before we planted). We are very much experimenting.
The new plot, in the background, was put in yesterday. It is the product of several hours of digging through our clay and caliche filled soil and about $30 in cement blocks. I like it. And I like that it doubled our growing area.
As of today, this is what is in growing in our garden: 8 tomato starts, 4 types of pepper (2 bell, 2 hot), 1 eggplant, 1 cantaloupe, 1 unknown melon (given to us by said coffee ground friend), a yellow summer squash plant and a zucchini plant, some carrots that probably won't grow much larger than a couple inches, lettuce and spinach. The broccoli plants got pulled up today, as we are already nearing 90 degrees daily here in the desert.
You can see in the picture that there is still a large unused area. The next steps are to add two more plots the same size, one by one. By the time that's done I hope to have close to enough growing space to grow enough veggies to feed our two person family. That is the first major step in my overall plan to have something that I can call a homestead. The first of many.